Pop Up Bins

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So waaaaay back in March Toni dragged me with her to a quilt store in Chicago (as she is want to do) and to my surprise I actually found an item there that wasn’t quilted that interested me. Tote bins in various sizes that could be collapsed for stage and transport; aka pop up bins.

Designed by Jo (the Fat Quarter Gypsy), these lovely bins immediately struck me as something practical I could use around the house and at conventions to hold my yarn and supplies while I was working on projects when not at my work desk. Well, half a year later I finally got to make mine! How did they turn out? Pretty good if I may say so myself. 😉


I made 2 different sizes, the large and medium, and did each of the suggested finishing techniques as well for the top. If you look hard at the large bin on the left you’ll see I even added pockets to hold my tools in when it’s in use. So, being a casual/novice when it comes to sewing what did I think of it? The pattern is simple enough to do if you understand how to use a machine, but the pattern it’s self assumes you know several sewing terms and image short hand. Thankfully we live in an era where information is only a few screen taps or key strokes away, but I’d still recommend talking to someone with more experience with sewing and patterns first to have them explain the process before you jump right in with this as your first pattern.

On the finished product its self, I do feel it’s a sturdy design, with the required wire being very thick and heavy duty enough to support not just the frame but a bit of a beating from being toted about as well. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the wire outlived the fabric really. Since I just finished them on Sunday I can’t speak yet to how well my additions and durability during construction turned out, but the ties have been holding it down nicely on the large one since Sunday night, and I know they’ll be incredibly helpful when I’m working with balls of yarn to keep them from rolling all around the room.




If you’re looking for a simple project and have someone who can help explain the pattern instructions if you’ve never sewn before, then this one might not be too bad. The first one took me about 3 hours to make as I sussed everything out and prepared the fabric for both, but the second one only took me about 30mins of just sewing once I knew what I needed to do. The fabric required is also very minimal with only a bit more than a yard needed for the medium size one (which measures ~8″ tall). So overall I’d recommend these if you like using bins to hold your stuff and as a fairly simple sewing project if you’re not into making clothes.

If you go to The Fat Quarter Gypsy site they have a full range of sizes from mini to extra large that you can make, and if a seller isn’t near your area you can purchase the pattern and wire ring directly from the designer herself here instead. 🙂

DIY Cosplay Boots

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Much like con season, Cosplay season is in full swing and I wanted to share some simple info I found that could help change your daunting footwear tasks. Instead of shopping for the right boots and dumping tons of money on something you’ll not wear more than a few times, why not make your boots?







Based on this free deviantart Doll Boot pattern, tumble user pitoftharkun created their own boots by scaling it up to size and using craft foam for the sides and a cheap $5 rubber mat to make the soles. The end result looks pretty great, imho.

The fabric used was a micro suede of some kind, but I imagine a faux leather would work just as well. You will need to be somewhat experienced in sewing (and ideally have a sewing machine) but anything that saves me hours of shopping and stress is always a win in my book. 🙂


Once Around a Pincushion

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Two Sundays ago I promised a pincushion tutorial and here it is! For reference, I used this Instructables tutorial on how to construct a pincushion cuff. It had a good foundation and some great tips, which I will include but lacked a little bit in some relevant details (more on that later). Please note that this tutorial assumes you are familiar with hand and machine sewing terms and techniques (if not, stay tuned at the end for some recommended viewing). To begin, you will need the following:


  1. Fabric (I used cotton)
  2. A mug or round item approximately 3″-4″ in diameter
  3. Poly fiber filling
  4. Sew-on Velcro
  5. Embroidery floss or other cording
  6. A button
  7. Scissors and/or a rotary cutter
  8. (If using rotary cutter) Self-healing cutting mat
  9. Ruler or measuring tape
  10. Pins
  11. (not pictured) Iron and ironing board

The following are not absolutely necessary but I found it easier to use them and I will refer to the steps where I used them.


(optional) Iron-on interfacing or stabilizer (pictured above)

(optional) Pinking shears

(optional) Seam ripper

(optional) Fabric pencil

Prior to cutting out my fabric, I washed, dried, and pressed it accordingly. You will need to cut 3 circles of fabric each measuring 3″-4″ in diameter and 2 strips of fabric measuring about 9″ (I made my a little bit longer) long by 2.75″ wide. If you opt to use the interfacing, cut it slightly smaller (length and width) than one of your long strips. Cut two 2″ strips from the Velcro.

To begin, I used the mug and fabric pencil to trace out circles on my fabric. The center circle will be used as reinforcement only so it does not need to be a pretty piece. I then used my ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut out my strips.

PincushionTutMugCircles  PincushionTutFabricStrips

If you choose to use interfacing, which I recommend if you intend to use this often as it will add strength and durability to the cuff, now would be the time to iron it on to one of the wrong sides of one of the strips. Then pin the right sides of your strips together. Using the edge of your presser foot as the seam allowance, sew around all sides of the strips **EXCEPT** about a 1″ space on one of the long sides (this is very important as you will need to flip the whole cuff through this hole later). The Instructables tutorial actually gives a great tip at this point, “Tip: Sew the opening area closed first by back stitching, then lengthening your stitch and sewing about an inch, and then back stitch again where the opening ends. Then you can press the seam open in this area and remove the stitches. This will give you a nice crease to follow when stitching the opening closed.” I did utilize this technique for both the cuff and the cushion. It made hand sewing much easier later on. While you are still at the sewing machine, you may as well sew your cushion, too. Make sure when you pin it beforehand that the right sides of the fabric you want on the outside of your cushion are facing each other while the reinforcement circle is on the wrong side of the “bottom” fabric. All I can say about sewing the seam on a circle is take your time and don’t forget that 1″ opening!

PincushionTutFabricStrips2  PincushionTutSewstrips  PincushionTutSewCushion

When you’ve got your seams done, it’s time to iron! Take both pieces over to the ironing board and iron that seam space open where we left a spot for the flip. Trust me, it will help! You’ll probably notice that my edges look all nice and full of ridges. Alternately before pressing, you can using the pinking shears to trim around your seams (this will prevent fraying when you are attempting to force a bunch of fabric through that 1″ hole), which is what I did. Next is the fun part! If you followed the wide stitch technique as suggested, you need to use your seam ripper to pull out those stitches. Then (brace yourself) you need to flip both things right side out by stuffing all the fabric through that 1″ hole you in the sides. Once you have it flipped, use a chop stick, pencil, or other stick-like implement to pop out your corners. Still with me? Awesome! At this point, you need to hand sew (with a slip/ladder stitch) that little hole closed in the cuff. Before doing the same to the cushion, stuff with what appears to be far too much poly filler (you want a really poofy cushion so you don’t get poked with a pin!). After you’ve stitched both parts closed, you can opt to topstitch around the edges of your cuff which I also recommend for added strength.

PincushionTutIronSeams  PincushionTutStuffCushion  PincushionTutTopstitch

We are in the home stretch now! The next part is to sew the little ridges into your cushion by using floss or some kind of cord to divide the cushion first into quarters, then into eighths. If you can come back up through the top of the cushion after dividing that last portion, you should be able to pop the button right on the top of that end of the floss and dig into the center of the cushion to anchor it.

PincushionTutSewFloss   PincushionTutSewFloss2   PincushionTutButton

Almost there, I swear! Now you will attach the cushion to the cuff by hand sewing the bottom of the cushion into the top layer of the cuff. This does not have to be perfect as it will not be visible but ensure that you sew it down firmly. Once your cushion is not going anywhere, sew your Velcro on – one on the top side and one on the bottom side of your cuff.

PincushionTutAttachCushion   PincushionTutSewVelcro

Clip your ends, grab some pins, and pat yourself on the back! We just made a pincushion cuff!


It’s going to come in real handy if you’ve decided to join in on the NES block of the month quilt-along over in the forums. This thing is the perfect wrist armor for those darn pins!


Above I had mentioned some things that may or may not be lacking (pending your sewing experience level) in the original tutorial. I found a couple of great videos if you aren’t that comfortable with ladder/slip stitch (through this link) or if you’ve never had to topstitch anything (through this link).

Hope you had as much fun as I did today!

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!





A Pin in the Hand

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…is not something you want! At the tail end of last year, I took up machine sewing in order to practice for the Nintendo BOM Quilt-a-long detailed in the Crafthackers forums. During the beginning stages I gathered appropriate materials, watched a ton of tutorials, and used a lot of scrap material as my rehearsal. Finding a couple of quick and easy starter projects to get comfortable with my machine were also a must. The very first project I scouted out was something that would not only help me work on my skills but also benefit my sewing supplies – a pin cushion! I think the hardest part was deciding what type to make. When push came to shove, I did not use any of the ones featured below (I’ll let you see that next week) but these are some decidedly good runner-ups. All of the following are links to Beginner/Easy tutorials if it is also your first time.

First up I found a tutorial that was not only quick, easy, and useful but also super cute! This particular pin cushion features both hand and machine sewing. A felt cupcake from Art Threads:

Just don't try to take a bite after you finish this prickly sweet.

Just don’t try to take a bite after you finish this prickly sweet.

The next is a very convenient and lovely take on a cuff pin cushion. I liked the idea of a cuff so much that I eventually chose one that was not quite so frilly. A fabric flower cuff from Ruffles and Stuff:

A blooming convenient place to stick those pins while working.

A blooming convenient place to stick those pins while working.

The third one I came across is still on my to-make list as I very much like the idea of having a way to distinguish my tools from others’ in a useful fashion. Small strawberry pin cushions from V and Co:

Freshly picked craft tools, my favorite!

Freshly picked craft tools, my favorite!

I think I was feeling mildly intimidated by the last one I was considering at the time, honestly. Now that I have a bit more experience I may consider re-visiting this one as well. A combination pin cushion/thread catcher from Merriment Design:

A quick solution to all of those thread ends and loose pins!

A quick solution to all of those thread ends and loose pins!

Next week, I will take you through the tutorial I used to make my own cuff pin cushion to satisfying effect.

Hope everyone is staying warm, winter has finally hit! What a perfect time to work on some sewing projects.

Stay crafty!



Build Your Stocking With Care

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Less than a week until the big day and, of course, I’ve been inspired to add some last minute crafting to the mix…stocking making to be exact. When I was a child, we didn’t have a fireplace but my parents always hung our stockings somewhere in the house so that Santa could find them and fill them with goodies! My Mom actually took the time to cut out, stitch together, and embellish felt stockings for each family member (including the dog). Over time the poor things got a bit warn out and we replaced them with the store bought kind. Being the sentimental type, I never forgot my handmade one and have been considering making new stockings for my family that reflect their interests. I’ve collected some tutorials to get us both started.

First up is what I would call a traditional stocking using some festive fabric and a bit of machine sewing know-how from FabricWorm. You could honestly use the template for any number of other eye catching stockings.

So simple and made to hold loot!

So simple and made to hold loot!

Maybe you are better with a hook or knitting needles than you are with a sewing machine? I think this crocheted second stocking from the Red Heart website also looks pretty quick and easy. Once again, this could be adapted to other designs to suit the recipient.

Or it could double as footwear for giants...

Or it could double as footwear for giants…

Ok, let’s say that neither sewing nor crochet are your specialty but how are your skills with a glue gun? Pretty handy with one? Then this third type of stocking (with many variations) from Better Homes and Gardens is just the thing!

Who knew what a little glue could do? Now try saying that five times, fast!

Who knew what a little glue could do? Now try saying that five times, fast!

My list wouldn’t be complete without just a little bit of geekery. For the Whovian in your life, I present a tutorial that includes this lovely Dalek stocking from Doodle Craft:



I don’t know about you but I am getting super excited! I love watching the faces of my gift recipients light up as they open something I made just for them. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone!

Stay crafty (and warm)!



DIY Hot/Cool Rice Pad

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I know these have been around for ages, and you’ve likely seen them are very expensive items at all natural stores, but stop! Don’t spend your money on something that you can make for much, MUCH less on your own; especially with the great prices fabric stores will be running for Black Friday Deals. What are they? The super versatile rice (or bean) pad, and as long as you have basic sewing skills, you can make them. I’ve been making them off and on as gifts or just for personal use for years now and my family loves them. They can be a quick cold pack that you don’t have to worry about melting, or a nice little bundle of warmth you slip into your bed on these increasingly chilly evenings so that it’s all warmed up for you. You can even make small hand held ones to use for bruises when they’re cold or pocket warmers when they’re hot. As long as you don’t get them wet, these handy bags will last you forever.

Your Materials needed:

Scissors (or Rotary Cutter)
Ruler (or Rotary Mat)
Sewing Pins
Cotton Fabric (~ 1/4 yard per rice pad)
Snuggle/Non-Pilling Flannel Fabric ( ~ 1/3 yard per rice pad)
White Rice NOT INSTANT (can also used any dry beans if you prefer)
Sewing Machine (though I have hand sewn one before so I can be done if you are adept enough)

The instructions for this DIY can be found here at instructables. Holly Mann has created are very easy to follow step by step guide that is filled with reference photos that I used myself this past weekend. I was going to remake one myself as I made my own, but hers is really just that good. A quick skim of the steps so you know what you’ll be getting into:

-Measure and cut fabric for a long rectangle rice pad as well as small square ones.
-Sew 3 sides together and fill with the appropriate amount of rice based on the size of the rice pad.
-Carefully sew the pad closed.
-Measure and cut flannel fabric for the covers for your rice pads.
-Sew together so that it has an opening much like a pillow sham for your bed.

That’s really all there is to it. 🙂 I made 2 long rectangle pads and 4 small square hand ones this weekend (but only the flannel covers for the long ones) and it took me about 1-2 hours from start to finish. They’re such a wonderfully versatile item that if you have the time and skill to spare you could easily make some for a very nice holiday gift this year as well. Jo-Ann’s online even has flannel on sale starting now for Black Friday at 75% off, with their cotton ones at a great mark down as well!! Even if you can’t make them right now it’s still a great time to pick up the only expensive parts for the future. ^_^


Posable Pascal

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Continuing with yesterday’s prop theme, today’s feature is all about a wonderfully made plush by the artist Piquipauparro.

Originally designed four years ago in August of 2011, this custom piece was a commission for a Rapunzel cosplayer. It is completely hand stitch with heavy vinyl material that was then painted afterwards to mimic the chameleon’s coloring in the movie. The neat part though? They gave him an internal armature to allow complete control of his limbs, tail and head. While not to scale as he is portrayed in the movie (they wanted something more noticeable) his 22″ size is quite an impressive bit of plush making. Piquipauparro does sell their plushies, but only by commission. You can see more examples of their work in their gallery or contact them directly through DA, Etsy, facebook and, of course, email. 🙂



Adorably Handy

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This is to be one of those rare post topics for me, as anyone who knows me can tell you how little I normally care about this subject but….I swear these are some of the cutest hand purses! 😀

Strawberry Paisly is an etsy shop filled with lots of cute things, but it was the hand purses/coin pouches that caught my eye. Everything about them is just wonderfully designed as they are very bright and eye catching while still remaining simplistic. The soot sprite based one are without a doubt my favorite, but the design work on Totoro is also just lovely.

All of her work is priced very affordable so if you’re in the market for a new casual coin purse you should definitely check it out. ^_^



Hooded in Warmth

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With temperatures dropping into the freezing range over here on the east coast by this weekend, I’ve been keeping up my search for things to help keep me warm. I’ve always loved the ease of hoodies, though I tend to lean towards the zipper style instead of the pull over ones and both of these artist make excellent designs in that style.

Princess Mononoke Hoodie by heartcard-cosplay

Heartcard-cosplay added a nice change the typical custom hoodie by changing the material. It does a nice job of mimicking the fur hood used by the character it was inspired by and it really makes this design work imho. She does brilliant cosplay work as well so be sure to give her gallery a look thru!

Glaceon Hoodie by Monostache

Monostache has been designing some brilliant character adaptations for the past two years, but it was her eeveeloution designs that caught my attention. They are made from a warm soft fleece and have such attention to detail. Each one captures the essential features of the character and the little addition of the pokeball on the zipper (or as a chest decal) really make her work stand out. Give her shop a look at if you’re in need of a new hoodie this winter.


Surive Winter the Hyrule Way

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Not sure how it’s going over on the opposite hemisphere with Europe and Asia, but here in North America we’ve definitely begun to feel the icy winds and freezing temperatures that herald the arrival of Winter knocking at your door. I know I busted out my winter coat this past weekend thanks to those 40mph gust of wind we had. *shivers* To help prepare for the coming cold, I’ve started to look into creative clothes that will keep me warm and, well, I’m a sucker for scarves.

Hyrule Warriors Scarf

From the new 2nd Party Zelda title, Hyrule Warriors, Otaku Crafts has created her own design based on the lovely and vibrant blue scarf Link wears in that game. The entire scarf is made from fleece to keep you warm and toasty while remaining huggably soft. Oh, and did I mention? She posted a free step by step tutorial to walk you through how to make your own! 😀 It does require basic sewing machine skills (aka the limit of my personal ability), though I’m sure it could be hand sewn if someone had the extra time and determination. ^_^

Keep Warm Everyone!